An Australian boxer has engaged Maurice Blackburn as he prepares to commence Federal Court action against a senior coach that racially abused him.
Trent Rawlins is a 24 year-old amateur heavyweight boxer and two time national amateur super heavyweight champion.
At a training camp last year, Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) head coach Bodo Andreass called him "Blackie" and instructed other boxers to also call Rawlins "Blackie".
Rawlins, who was born in Melbourne but whose parents hail from South Africa and Barbados, told Andreass to call him by his name, but the coach continued to call him "Blackie" for a short time after that.
Andreass was fined by the AIS and later apologised, but after six months of mediation with sports officials conducted through the Human Rights Commission, Andreass is still in his position as AIS head coach and remains a member of the Boxing Australia Selection Committee.
Rawlins is taking court action in a bid to remove Andreass from having any influence over selection decisions affecting his representation of national sporting teams.
"That is the crux of the matter, and the outcome that Trent is seeking," Rawlins' lawyer, Siobhan Keating, told Lawyers Weekly. "We would like to settle the matter, but the Australian Sports Commission would not allow a remedy that would remove Andreass from being involved in decisions that would affect Trent's career."
Keating, who practices in industrial and employment law, said that any action filed would be on the basis of racial discrimination in the workplace.
Keating also confirmed that Rawlins would be seeking a "small" amount of compensation.
Rawlins is hoping to earn selection on the Australian boxing team for the 2012 London Olympics.
He has previously said he would consider moving overseas if he does not achieve an acceptable outcome.